3:45AM we awoke to the sound of our blaring alarm. We had a 5:50AM flight so we had to rush to the small airport about 30 minutes away. We got up, gathered the luggage and were off. In 24 hours, I knew I would be landing in South Africa. This had been a dream of mine since I met my fiancée, but never did I think it would happen so soon. The anticipation was killing me. I felt my nerves shake my entire body. I boarded the first flight to Atlanta filled with excitement. We landed and I felt on top of the world. I knew only one more flight until I was in paradise. However, that flight would be 15 hours!
Once we landed after an exhausting flight, I was there. The second I stepped out the plane, the heat hit me in a way I had never felt. That African sun was brutal. You can feel each breathe you take, and the sweat beats down on you like bullets. We climbed into his grandmother’s car and off we were to Pretoria. The drive was shorter than I expected. Within an hour we pulled up to her fortress. Each home in the neighborhood had walls and gates surrounding the land. It was different than anything I had ever seen in America. By the time we arrived inside it was getting dark so we headed to bed to rest after such a long journey.
We awoke the next morning around 5AM to the sound of birds chirping at the window. These chirps were different than the mountain’s birds back home; the songs they sang were more peaceful. We met his grandmother in the kitchen for morning tea. It was a slower start to the day. Around 2PM we headed to a small restaurant called Hinterlands for lunch. I ordered a lovely cabernet sauvignon and the waiter brought me 3 more top shelf wines to try. He conducted a full wine tasting for my fiancée and I at our table. The wine was absolutely divine, all made in South Africa. In the states, I am too young to drink but I work at a winery, so this was the perfect experience for me to learn about the process and the wines this country specializes in. Not to mention the food was heavenly. We ended up leaving with a bottle of Pinotage and headed for the pool. We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in his grandma’s pool and sipping on some wine.
The next day we woke up early once again. Those early morning were bright and refreshing. The sun wasn’t as brutal just yet so heading out around 10AM was ideal. We went to Brooklyn mall and walked around for hours. It had to be the biggest mall I had ever seen with so much to do. I could of spent hours looking through all the furniture shops. Its amazing to see how similar yet different the styes could be. One shop to the next all brought something totally different to the table And the prices! Working with rand compared to the US dollar made everything seem so inexpensive. After about three hours, we wound up at a burger and butchery shop called Moo Moo’s and had a quick bite to eat with yet another bottle of Pinotage. The steak melted in my mouth and each bite brought on a million new flavors. I was in awe that food could taste so fresh. Not to mention the people were so sweet. Our waiter served the bottle right at the table and if he noticed we began to finish a glass, would come and pour more. I felt like a princess in the bush. Once we headed home from our adventure, we sat down to make plans for the coast. Although Pretoria still had much more to offer, the ocean was calling my name. The next morning we packed up our things and headed to the airport yet again. Next stop, Paradise Beach.